Both the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Staatskapelle Berlin have been regular guests in Japan for many years and have many friends among the country’s music enthusiasts. Following the devastating earthquake and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in March 2011, the two orchestras gave a joint benefit concert for the victims a few weeks later, with Sir Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim conducting.
All proceeds from the concert and from the live webcast in the Digital Concert Hall went to the UNICEF emergency fund in Japan. As Ken Hayami from the Japan Committee for UNICEF said, following the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear power plant disaster, UNICEF’s top priority was to help traumatised children in the affected areas as quickly and effectively as possible. With this concert, the musicians wanted to help them in their efforts.
To open the concert, the Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim perform Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony Pathétique. In addition to its concert activities, the Staatskapelle, whose history goes back to 1570, is the orchestra of the Staatsoper in Berlin. Daniel Barenboim has been general music director of the Staatskapelle since 1992. The Berliner Philharmoniker and chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle end the concert with a performance of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony. The orchestra has been an international UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007.